Photo by Ave Calvar Martinez
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
This is God‘s promise to the Israelites as God took them into captivity. He intended to deal with what was leading them away from Him. The promise is also for us.
A new heart
The first thing He gives us is a new heart. Why do we need a new heart? We need a new heart to follow Him and to walk in obedience to His commands. There is no way we can walk with God with an unregenerated heart.
Jeremiah 32:39 tells us what this new heart is, “I will give them singleness of heart and action so that they may always fear me…” A new heart is given with the intention to make us undivided and single-minded in our going after God and walking in the fear of Him.
When God gives us a new heart we can follow His statutes and do what is pleasing to Him.
A heart of stone
God reveals to them that He was giving them a different heart from what they had. He says that theirs was a heart of stone. They had become hardened to His voice and counsel. They had become hardened by sin. They had become hardened by life circumstances.
A heart of stone is synonymous with unbelievers. But in this case, it is also for people who had walked with God but got to a place where they became hardened in heart towards Him. Believers can get to a place where they become hardened toward God.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus mentions four conditions of the heart. The second condition of the heart is the rocky soil. In this soil, the seed ( which is the word of God) is able to grow, but it cannot grow deep because of the hardness of the heart. (Matthew 13:5-6)
Our hearts can become hard either because of sin or due to unprecedented circumstances in our lives. We can be hardened towards God by sin- when disobedience remains in our lives without repentance. We can also be hardened by life circumstances when things we didn’t foresee touch our lives. We can become bitter and blame God.
The word of God cannot take root and produce fruit in a heart of stone. We can ever be hearing the word of God but we won’t see it produce fruit in our lives because it never goes beyond our hardness.
So, the first thing God does in renewing us is to take away the heart of stone.
A Heart of flesh
In place of a hardened heart, God will give us a heart of flesh. A heart of flesh is sensitive and tender towards God. It is sensitive towards sin. It can be corrected and can submit to God’s word and counsel.
The psalmist discovered that God wasn’t interested in anything we could bring to Him unless it was a heart that is sensitive towards him.
For you do not delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it; you are not pleased with burnt offering. My only [acceptable ] sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; broken and contrite heart[ broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51: 16-17 AMP
A heart of flesh has the ability to be broken over what grieves God and is repentant. This is what God promises to give to us.
A new Spirit
And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27
A new heart isn’t enough; we also need a new spirit to be able to do what God wants us to do. It’s the Holy Spirit in us enabling us to walk in His ways.
We often think that it’s up to us to know how to follow God. We believe we have to struggle to live holy, but here is our revelation, it’s not us but His spirit within us enabling us to walk in His statutes.
GOD’S WORD says…I will put my spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules.
CEV says… Because I will put my spirit in you and make you eager to obey my laws and teachings.
ISV says… I’ll place my spirit within you empowering you to live according to my regulations and to keep my just decrees.
God says it’s my Spirit in you enabling and empowering you to be able to walk the way I want you to walk. It’s not your strength or ability, but my Spirit within you.
My prayer for you is a new heart and spirit enabling you to walk in His commandments and to live a life that pleases Him.